Gasoline Prices

March/01/2011 16:16PM
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I saw $3.999 gasoline in Los Angeles last week. And, $4.299 diesel. Where will prices go this summer? Predicting energy prices is harder than picking next year’s Super Bowl champion. The unrest in the Middle East is putting a lot of pressure on oil prices. Whether or not the uprisings result in $5.00 gasoline, as some have predicted, the instability is going to put pressure on oil prices. The Saudis, as always, will decide by their production output. If they ramp it up, prices will not go up dramatically, if not, they will.

Who will Congress call to the woodshed if gasoline prices do go to $5.00? The former leaders of Middle East countries like Egypt, Libya, or Tunisia? The new leaders of those countries? The Saudi prince? Certainly the whipping boys can’t be the ones they have called for the past 30 years, CEO’s of US based oil companies. They are becoming rare. And, would the public buy it this time? Probably not.

The people going to the woodshed should be our political leaders who have developed what I call a cul de sac energy strategy. You drive in and keep going in circles. The same old issues hashed out and the same old lame responses coming out.

We quit nuclear because of two incidents at two nuclear plants. We quit offshore drilling because of two incidents, Unocal in California over twenty years ago, and BP more recently. We are trying to stop natural gas development in this country, the best energy option we have had in 30 years, without any incident. Using a technology called fracking, oil developers use water and chemicals to break through shale and then drill horizontally to get the natural gas. Some politicians want this stopped. But, they will approve two terminals to export natural gas which are nearing full permits. Isn’t that great, we will export gas while importing more and more oil.

Meanwhile, green energy stumbles along at 1% of our energy output despite billions in subsidies.

Whether we hit $5 gasoline this year, next year, or 5 years from now, we will. It may be $10 gasoline at some point. China and India will drive up demand for oil, pushing prices up. When it comes, it will be a tsunami. The US economy will crumble. Jobs will be lost and national security will be at risk.

We have to get off the cul de sac. We need a freeway that will tap every form of energy we can muster in this country. We need to be drilling everywhere we can find oil here. We need to be building nuclear plants at mach speed. We need to use our new found natural gas for transportation fuels, power generation, and not exporting any. We need to be making methanol from coal. We need more clean coal power generation. We need to throw the kitchen sink at our energy issues.

Then, and only then, can we protect ourselves for economic chaos. The tsunami is coming, it’s just a matter of when.

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